on Linux the filename :.zip is valid right? What would happen if I copy that file to a NTFS harddisk running Windows? Would I get an error message?

3 Answers 3


If you're doing the copy from Windows, the copy would fail.

There's a thread on the Ubuntu forums that looks similar to this, the suggestion there is just to rename the file before attempting to copy it.

If you can't boot to Linux to rename the file, the suggestion is to use a wildcard in place of the invalid character (eg ? or *) to find the individual file and rename it using the command line, though the wildcard must match only one file of course.

As an example- say your file is d:\SomeInvalidFile:123.zip you could do the following:

ren d:\SomeInvalidFile?123.zip d:\SomeNowValidFile_123.zip


Beleave it or not, I actually tried something like this once. I booted a PC that normally ran Windows, with a Fedora Live CD. I then created a file with a backslash ("\"). You know what Windows uses that for. Anyways, afterward I booted back into Windows, and didn't have any problems. In fact it showed the file with the entire name, including the backslash! Until, I tried to open it, then I got file not found errors. I couldn't delete, or do any thing else with it. I kept getting the same error. Finally the only way to get rid of it was to boot back into the Fedora Live CD, and delete the file from there.

I know that this was asked quite a while ago, but I think maybe someone else might be curious about this as well some day.


I know that Ubuntu can read/write to NTFS without a problem because of NTFS-3G. Currently, I believe that Windows does not have the same privileges with ext4 (native Linux partition format).

  • 2
    The question is about filenames, not filesystem formats. Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 12:32

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